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The Celebrating Gary’s 70th Birthday page that Linda created turned out to be more profound for me than I imagined it could. In the process of reading, hearing, and watching the many forms of appreciation that I received, I discovered that I appreciated the people who sent them and for the same reasons they were appreciating me! The more I read of their courage, open hearts, commitment, and compassion, the more I found myself celebrating them. The deepest appreciation we have for one another is not for what we do, but that we are here together, like it or not, continually offering one another opportunities to grow spiritually. Each time we experience an attraction or repulsion, we are offered an opportunity to grow spiritually. Each time we encounter someone we love or someone we despise, we are offered an opportunity. At first it seems that spiritual growth happens only when we open our hearts to people who open theirs to us. Then we discover that we grow spiritually when we open our hearts to people who do not open their hearts to us. This is where the real celebration begins – the celebration of everyone and everything because of the opportunities they give us without fail to grow spiritually.

Once we see this, we celebrate everything. Like students in a 3D, surround-sound, high-definition, full-color, cast-of-billions educational environment that provides them exactly what each needs to grow spiritually, moment by moment, we see how our attractions and repulsions, people we love and people we hate, and people who love us and people who hate us, all give us opportunities to respond with love or react with fear. Responding with love creates bliss. Reacting with fear creates pain. Recognizing the difference and acting on it – choosing love no matter what – is spiritual growth.

Thank you for celebrating me. It is a joy to celebrate you. What better gift could we receive and share?

Linda & Gary
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